Company Name: Thirty-One Gifts
What Is It?
A party-based MLM where the products are mainly bags and storage products.
Thirty-One Gifts has appealing products that do seem to be popular and unique. But, the company is plagued by poor quality products, which decreases its appeal. The commission structure for the company is fairly typical although the party-based focus does add to the challenge of being successful in it. Overall, Thirty-One Gifts might be a good choice if you love their products, but for the rest of us, it isn’t a particularly effective way to make money.
The main focus of Thirty-One Gifts is on bags and bag-like storage containers, like the ones in the image below.
The company offers a range of different types of products and different styles while also allowing people to customize their purchases (for an additional fee, of course). Over time, the company releases different products and styles into their range and retires others.
There are also a few other products that don’t fit into this general theme, including jewelry as well as some of their home and accessory items. Those products are the minority though, and the company certainly does focus on its bags.
In itself, a MLM selling bags doesn’t sound that appealing.
But, Thirty-One Gifts offers a range of unique or unusual bags. Many of these bags help people to solve storage problems. The variation in the type of bags available, along with the ability to customize bags does make the product line appealing to a wide range of people. I have personally known a number of people who regularly buy from the company and are passionate about the products.
You often find that MLMs tend to promote products that are essentially the same. With Thirty-One Gifts that isn’t the case. Instead, the company manages to stand out from MLMs by offering something a bit different.
As such, the type of products that this company offers does give consultants an advantage. Customers cannot easily go onto Amazon or another source to get the same product. Additionally, if people tried to buy the products from another source they wouldn’t have the option of customization.
Price and Quality
With any company, the nature of the products is only part of the story. Both the price and the quality is just as relevant. With Thirty-One Gifts, the prices for most products appear reasonable at first glance. However, it is difficult to know, because many of the products are pretty unusual. For example, three of their products and their prices are below.
I think that, in general, the prices are low enough that they would appeal to many potential customers. Some products are more expensive than others, but that is to be expected. However, in many cases, you could find similar bags at stores and the cost of those bags would be much lower.
From people that I’ve talked to, the quality of the bags seems relatively decent, but not exceptional. I knew one person who had multiple bags that have lasted a long time with no signs of wear, but also purchased two bags that each broke within a week. I’ve also seen similar perspectives online.
For example, one blogger reviewed her experience with the bags, saying that both her purchase and her friend’s broke quickly. She also had trouble getting a replacement or refund from the company. I also found the reviews below that talk about the products from Thirty-One Gifts.
I suspect the quality of the bag is strongly connected to the type and the price. For example, purses are fiddlier, involve zips and tend to have less rugged material. So, those items would be more likely to break than some of the large totes from the company, which are basically large bags with handles and tough fabric.
The issue of quality is a major problem if you’re a consultant. It could easily result in lost customers and decreased profit overall.
If the company had good customer service, then this would help to reduce some of this issue. However, reviews on the company’s service in this area are mixed. All of these issues would make the process of making money through the company that much harder.
Thirty-One Gifts is a party-based MLM. **YAWN** Distributors can make sales either in physical parties, catalog parties or online parties.
The party structure is interesting and it can also be limiting. This structure means that your income is connected to amount (and size) of sales within a given party. So, for a physical party, you would collect orders during the party then send them off at the end of the party.
Your commission, bonuses and any other factors are then calculated from the success of your party. However, the structure does make it harder to make individual sales.
With this particular company, individuals earn a 25% commission on the products that they sell. But, the real income from the company comes from recruiting (doesn’t it always). The basic idea is the same as other MLMs. So, you are trying to get other people to join the company, and then get them to recruit others and make sales.
In doing so, you increase in rank in the company, which in turn increases your potential earnings. For example, here is some of the information about the first and last ranks in the company.
As you can see, it takes a lot of work to reach the high levels in the company, but there are also many more bonuses. This is a key part of the structure of MLMs. In general, most of your income comes from the success of people in your team. As such, a larger team means more income.
This approach is frustrating though.
For one thing, it isn’t sustainable. There are only going to be so many people in your area that you could recruit into the company. At the same time, you would face pretty intense competition from other consultants.
Realistically, as the company grows in size it would become increasingly difficult to recruit people. The same thing happens when you grow your own team. Additionally, you end up competing against your own team. After all, they are also trying to make sales and recruit others. If you did build your team from your own local area (which most people would), then the potential recruits would dry up fast.
The only way that the company can grow and make money is if a lot of people join and aren’t successful. That’s exactly what happens too.
Making money through this structure is difficult. Most of the people that join the company don’t know anything about managing teams, making sales or recruiting others. Those aren’t skills that you can easily pick up.
Overall, the commission scheme of this company is pretty similar to most other MLMs. The only major difference is that some of it is based on parties rather than individual sales. In my opinion, that party structure simply makes earning money more difficult.
In some MLMs, consultants have to purchase the products from the company and then try to sell them to customers. That isn’t the case here. In theory, this means that consultants don’t have to buy any product themselves.
But, in practice that isn’t the case. For one thing, sales are made using a party-based approach. So, if you were having an in-person party, customers would want to see what the products look like. This puts pressure on consultants and many end up buying the products to help them make sales.
Additionally, you have to buy an initial enrollment kit, which costs $99.
There is also a requirement to stay active. To do this, you have to make a certain amount of sales in a month (that figure is $200). This requirement can be challenging, and consultants may end up buying more products themselves to help promote sales.
These factors mean that being successful as a consultant for the company often ends up costing more than you would anticipate.
Many people end up joining Thirty-One Gifts because they are passionate about the products. The business kit for the company really supports this idea because it looks like this:
According to the company’s estimation, that kit is worth more than $400. Regardless of whether it is or not, the combination of products is certainly enough to push some people into joining the company. At the same time, consultants earn discounts from their success, so this also encourages people to join.
Because of this, some people end up using the company as a way to get discounted products, rather than as a way to make a profit. If that’s the reason you want to join Thirty-One Gifts, then the company might be okay for you.
However, if you are seriously looking at the company as a way of making money, then you’re likely to be disappointed.
MLM VS Affiliate Marketing
People often wonder why I am so hard on MLMs. After all, some people do make money as consultants or distributors, so clearly their model does work to some degree.
My problem with MLMs is that the model favors the company. Some distributors do make money, but they are fighting an uphill battle to do so. At the same time, a MLM makes you completely dependent on the company and on your team for making money. That’s a bad long-term setup, because you have nothing to fall back on if something goes wrong.
And things do go wrong.
There are many MLMs already out there and over time many more will be developed. Some of the MLMs will be successful but many will fail. In fact, the MLM model even lends itself to failure, as the company starts struggling once it gets harder to recruit people. Very rarely to do network marketing companies focus on developing new products to grow the company. It's always about recruiting more sales people to hawk their core offerings.
This is why I prefer affiliate marketing. It has some of the advantages of a MLM, without all of the disadvantages. In particular, you get to promote the products that you are interested in, without becoming dependent on a complex structure or on recruitment. You make commissions directly from sales, and are not reliant on growing a team. You can even compare products from other companies side by side, and are not required to have “brand loyalty”
Whatever type of product you decide to promote, it's important to own your own website to grow your business.
Parties only work if you have a network of friends with money in their pockets. Network marketing only works if your friends are interested in joining business opportunities.
With a website you can reach the entire world, and only promote great products to people interested in what you have to say. Plus, you open up doors to multiple streams of revenue like affiliate sales, ad click revenue, paid advertising, and even selling your own digital products.